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All superalloys, whether precipitation hardened or not, are heated at some point in their production for a subsequent processing step or, as needed, to alter their microstructure. This chapter discusses the changes that occur in superalloys during heat treatment and the many reasons such changes are required. It describes several types of treatments, including stress relieving, in-process annealing, full annealing, solution annealing, coating diffusion, and precipitation hardening. It discusses the temperatures, holding times, and heating and cooling rates necessary to achieve the desired objectives of quenching, annealing, and aging along with the associated risks of surface damage caused by oxidation, carbon pickup, alloy depletion, intergranular attack, and environmental contaminants. It also discusses heat treatment atmospheres, furnace and fixturing requirements, and practical considerations, including heating and cooling rates for wrought and cast superalloys and combined treatments such as solution annealing and vacuum brazing.

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